During the winter season, sickness seems to spread through the office like wildfire. How can you protect yourself from your co-workers’ germs? Consider these four tips:
1. Wash your hands! Washing your hands is still the best way to protect yourself from germs. But are you washing them properly? You should scrub your hands (including fingernails and wrists) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before preparing food or eating, as well as after going to the restroom, touching an animal, coughing or sneezing, handling any kind of raw meat or waste, or coming in contact with a sick person. Not sure if you’re washing long enough? Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice and you’re done!
2. Avoid shared surfaces. The door, refrigerator and microwave handles have one thing in common: everyone touches them! Avoid coming into contact with these surfaces if possible, by using a paper towel. If you must touch them, remember to wash your hands afterward to keep from spreading the germs to yourself and to other surfaces.
3. Wipe it down. Kitchen counters and conference tables can be home to many different types of germs. Do your part to keep the workplace clean and germ-free by wiping down these surfaces at least once per day. Remember that your personal space, including your desk, keyboard and phone are especially susceptible to contamination and should be cleaned often.
4. Be good to your body. Naturally support your body’s internal defenses against germs by living a healthy lifestyle ““ even at work. Pack a healthy homemade lunch, take a walk during your break, and practice breathing exercises throughout the day to decrease your stress level. These helpful habits can support your body’s normal immune function.